Crock Pot Recipes: The Best Baked Beans Recipes Ever

If soaking dried beans can change your life, then these are the best baked bean recipes, ever. I’ve often been (bean) critical of canned beans, and baked beans living in cans are no different since they’re loaded with processed sugar and many contain lots of sodium. I think we can make a better baked bean recipe by skipping those canned in captivity.

Long time readers of Squawkfox (the keener beaners) know of my insatiable ability to wax lyrical about the lowly legume. Hey, you’ve gotta get lyrical about something in life, why not beans?

So lyrical I be when it comes to frugal sources of protein — and baked beans are on my soul-warming, comfort-fooding, and fantastically frugalicious yummy list.

boston baked beans

To make this dish super easy and super cheap I turned off my oven and fired up my Crock Pot (or slow cooker for those with unbranded cooking dish devices). If you’re still living without one, here are 6 Reasons to use a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot and How to Buy a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot for less. Hint: this is the best time of year to buy a slow cooker on sale.

Now back to brown beans. I’ve put together three recipes for all tastes: I’ve got a healthy homemade baked beans recipe, a Boston baked beans recipe and a vegetarian baked beans recipe. Here’s how to make homemade baked beans:

Homemade Baked Beans Recipe

This is my favorite since I love the sweetness of the honey and molasses mixed with a punch of mustard.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dried mustard
  • Optional: 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Optional: sautéed chopped onion

Boston Baked Bean Recipe

Here’s a frugal take on Boston baked beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
  • 1/4 pound bacon
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dried mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sautéed chopped onion

Vegetarian Baked Beans Recipe

This one is similar to the homemade baked beans recipe, but it’s less sweet since it contains no honey. I’ve also cut the salt. Feel free to add more molasses.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dried mustard
  • Optional: 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Optional: sautéed chopped onion

How to Make Baked Beans in Your Crock Pot

The instructions are the same for all three recipes. The photos illustrate the homemade baked beans recipe though — so don’t worry if the pictures don’t match your imagination.

Directions:

1. Soak navy beans overnight. I’ve soaked longer — up to 12 hours — for even softer baked beans. See How to Soak and Cook Dried Beans for lots of background info on why you’ve gotta soak your beans.

2. Drain beans and rinse off. Put beans into Crock Pot or slow cooker.

crockpot baked beans

3. Add all the ingredients from your preferred baked beans recipe.

baked beans recipe

4. Stir all ingredients together.

homemade baked beans

5. Cover Crock Pot and cook 6-7 hours on high, or 10-12 hours on low. These slow cooking times are approximate, so cook until the beans are soft and the sauce is rich. Add water to the Crock Pot, if needed.

Eyeball Warning: If you like your eyeballs, then do yourself a solid and refrain from opening the lid during the early hours of cooking. Dried mustard is volatile stuff, and the fumes will burn your pupils if you dare peep into the pot.

baked beans

6. Serve on toast for breakfast, with scrambled eggs for lunch, or as a side dish with dinner. Enjoy!

best baked bean recipes

Your Two Cents: Are you a keener beaner?

Your two cents:

  1. runswithscissors April 16th, 2010

    Hello!
    just a quick question…. how long would these recipes keep? or, could you freeze them?
    that’s alot of beans you see! the last thing i need to convert me from beans in captivity i guess…
    ab

  2. Heidi April 16th, 2010

    Thanks for the great recipe. Do you have any Indian inspired vegetarian crock pot recipes?

  3. Heide M April 16th, 2010

    What a great and easy recipe.

  4. Tricia Steenson April 17th, 2010

    Hi – I’m a crockpotter and a beaner and I read something recently that after 40-
    some years of cooking I didn’t know about bean cooking.
    I’ve always boiled my beans before cooking ( because my mom always did! )
    and the info I heard about recently explains why the boiling of the beans is an
    important step. Apparently, beans ( certainly the big guys like the pintos and
    kidneys ) contain some kind of toxic/poisonous stuff that we need to get rid
    of by boiling the little blighters for 10 minutes. I honestly don’t know if this
    info applies to the smaller navy beans, but I think it may be a smart move to
    boil any beans for 10 minutes, then place them in the crockpot to finish cooking.

  5. Matt April 17th, 2010

    I love beens!!!
    I love baked beans never tryed them home cooked sadly. I think next groshery day I’m going to try your recipe out. and thanks for the recipes.

    Matt

  6. Caitlin April 20th, 2010

    @Tricia Steenson – I think a slow simmer all day in the crock pot would accomplish the same thing as a boil for 10 minutes. Heat damage to the toxin proteins.

  7. crickett June 4th, 2010

    I am a keener beaner meaner, the pressure cooker is a quickie with the beaners, always presoak and take the foam out before capping the PC. I do not have a problem with the gaseous emissions…is that because i eat them often? Ths recipe looks delish, will try it.

  8. Chris June 10th, 2010

    @Mom5xs – I am eager to try these recipes, but my question is- How many servings does it make? We are a family of 7, so should I double the recipe? And do you cook the bacon a little first on the Boston Baked Bean recipe? Looking forward to answers and trying it out! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. crazysaver August 11th, 2010

    I love these recipes, do you have any for crock-pot chili?

  10. Nancy October 28th, 2010

    Just tried this method using Paula Dean’s white chile recipe. Cooked for 11 hours on low. Came out fantastic!!

  11. daphne October 29th, 2010

    thank you for the recipe- looks wonderful!
    how would you alter the cooking time/method for using conventional stovetop (instead of crock pot) ?
    thank you in advance for taking the time to answer..

  12. Linda November 13th, 2010

    Great recipes…I have been soaking beans for some time now….too much sodium in the cans. I will have to try one of these…thanks for healthy recipes..going to use my crock pot more often.

  13. Jerry Bad Things November 30th, 2010

    @Caitlin
    @Tricia Steenson

    Actually the crock pot will not take care of the toxin, since it will sit in the same water. You must either boil the beans or soak them overnight (8+ hours) and *discard* the water to remove the poison.

  14. xna10e January 12th, 2011

    can i use blackstrap?

  15. Kerry January 12th, 2011

    Yes.

  16. xna10e January 14th, 2011

    thanks for the response..another question tho.. can i use pinto beans? they are the only one i have now..and we are not set grocery shopping til next week..

  17. shirley Purdy (Darryl,s mom) January 27th, 2011

    I didn’t see any response to the toxin questions.Could you comment on this.I just signed up to your site and am really excited about it.

  18. Dana February 22nd, 2011

    I’m curious about freezing any of these recipes.

  19. Pat May 20th, 2011

    Beans freeze extremely well! You just can’t go wrong!

  20. Connie June 1st, 2011

    I wouldn’t worry about having too many beans…if you are lucky enough to have any leftover you can use them this way. It’s really old school, like about a 100 years or so. Lightly mash, add a little pickle relish and mayo and make a sandwich with them…delish.

  21. Kim June 18th, 2011

    I have the same question as Chris? How many servings does the recipe make. Can it be doubled and fit into a large crockpot?

  22. Rachel July 20th, 2011

    Can I used Pinto beans instead of white beans…I have a huge bag of pintos and I am wondering what in the heck I can do with them.

  23. Myrna December 27th, 2011

    My mom made baked beans every Saturday when I was a child, the old fashioned way at first and then crock pot. She always soaked them over night with a little baking soda. Drained in the morning and that took out toxins and made then softer…

  24. Nellie January 7th, 2012

    I cook beans in a crock pot on regular basis and on stove top and I never soak or drain any water. I’ve used all kinds of beans without any problem or side effects =)

  25. Wanda January 8th, 2012

    To answer a couple of questions:
    1. Yes, baked beans freeze well.
    2. No, you do not need to pre-cook the bacon. It will cook up just fine in the process.
    3. If you do not want to use the slow cooker, you would not make baked beans on the stove top. You would need to use an oven. I generally bake in the oven for about 5 – 6 hours at 325 degrees. I take the lid off for the last 1 hr to 1 1/2 hour.
    But I am definitely going to try the slow cooker next time.

  26. Glenna January 29th, 2012

    Normally I check Allrecipes.com but they had NOTHING even close to the fantastic recipes you show for home made baked beans in a crock pot. I can get the crock pot here in Taiwan but no way can I get canned baked beans. But now that I read your offering, GONE are even thoughts of canned baked beans! Thank you!!!!!!

  27. beth February 1st, 2012

    Hmmm…I tried the vegetarian baked bean recipe. Soaked my beans for over 12 hours overnight. They’ve been in the crockpot on low for over 12 hours, and are still “crunchy.” I think I heard somewhere long, long ago that one should not simmer beans in anything containing acidic ingredients (like tomato), or the beans will not soften. Or is it my beans (white navy)? The crockpot? Sipping at the sauce, the flavor seems great, but why won’t they soften up?

  28. beth February 1st, 2012

    …continued after reading your bean troubleshooting page & comments…
    I did soak the beans in 3-4x as much water as beans. At room temperature. I started the recipe in the crockpot VERY early this morning; and if my pre-coffee foggy brain recalls correctly, I don’t think the beans had expanded much overnight. Why wouldn’t they have?
    Still mystified.

  29. joy April 1st, 2012

    As a newbie beaner, I figured out a to soak the beans 24 hours ahead in plenty of water and leave the beans in the fridge while soaking. Then just cook for a little less time. I’ve had zero flatulence issues using this method!

  30. Jacqueline April 4th, 2012

    Two Tbls of mustard? Eeeeeeew. I just uned one and already it tastes nasty. I would recommend trying 1/2 Tbl. I think I’ve messed up with this. Sigh.

  31. Donna April 4th, 2012

    Going to make your vegetarian baked beans and would like to know how many the recipe serves?

  32. stephanie May 7th, 2012

    For the beans not getting soft, very old beans will not soften up while cooking.

  33. lydia May 24th, 2012

    re: pinto beans
    They would work fine. I would stay away from black beans since they have a distinct flavor. But, most other beans will sub for each other just fine.
    Re: servings
    3 cups uncooked beans will expand to 6 cups cooked. 1/2 cup of beans is a serving… so, technically 12. In real life though, I wouldn’t count on this serving more than 6, with left overs for lunch.

  34. Chris July 3rd, 2012

    My favourite bean recipe for the slow cooker – Take 1/2lb haricot (navy beans) soak them overnight. Next morning boil them in fresh water for 20/30 minutes. take one big piece of boiling bacon (about 2lb) without the skin, but left whole and put it in the slow cooker put the drained beans in with it, add one finely chopped onion. make your sauce – tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, honey or molasses and mustard powder. you mix it up and just make the mixture suit your taste (basically a concentrated BBQ sauce mix). Pour this into the pot and then add enough water, about an extra pint, to cover the meat. Put it on the low setting and go to work. when you come home take the bacon and put it in the centre of a large serving dish and pout the beans over the top. serve with crusty bread. I have also used smoked bacon joints and also added green peppers when I have some going spare. essentially what I am saying is – relax, beans are really kind and don’t mind a bit of a battering. The important thing is to make a sauce you really like. xxx

  35. Elaine July 4th, 2012

    I followed this recipe to the T but was very disappointed with the outcome. Beans were very dry and that was after i added another cup of sauce mixture 2 hrs before serving.

  36. Jacqueline August 14th, 2012

    Elaine: Maybe you forgot to add water besides the chicken broth? I made it and it was actually too watery! Once again, I say that this recipe demands for TOOO MUCH MUSTARD. Instead, add some Worchester Sauce and only one drop of Mesquite Liquid…and don`t forget to sautée your onions.

    I’m a critic to food and in my opinion, this recipe is DELICIOUS. :)

  37. Oleg September 16th, 2012

    Great recipe for vegetarian baked beans, however I made some changes (don’t you just love that?!) Anyway, I didn’t have vegetable broth so I used one bottle of beer + water to equal 2 1/2 cups. I reduced the mustard to 1 1/2 tablespoons and added 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Definitely used the optional garlic & onion. It smells like heaven & has great flavor. Wasn’t that difficult to make, and rivals the top brand you can buy at the supermarket (but for so much less!!) Thanks!

  38. Amy February 25th, 2013

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you for this recipe! I’ve used it many, many times and I love it and so does my family. It’s great for taking to gatherings when I don’t have a lot of time (or desire) to make something fancy. Everyone loves a good baked beans dish! Sometimes I just make a pot and leave it in the fridge to eat on all week if I need a quick side dish or meal. Great on toast for breakfast, too!

  39. PattyJo May 20th, 2013

    I just read about toxins, all you have to do is rinse them after soaking then boil them for 10 minutes and toxins are killed..i will boil mine 20 minutes to be double sure..good to know..

    I am trying them in the crockpot for the first time..don’t want oven on now that is hot out..can’t wait to try these.

    Thanks for recipe!! Looks like a winner!!

  40. Ron Smyth August 7th, 2013

    Baked beans are deeelicious! When I was a kid I liked Libby’s pork and beans but was always disappointed to see that the “pork” was one small slice of salt pork sitting on top of the can, so now I use a lot more meat, including salt pork, side bacon, and even small pieces of pork shop without the fat. And the biggest disappointment of all was if we ended up with any other kind of canned product. Libby’s makes beans with tomato sauce and no pork, but only the Bien Mijotées type is any good! Sometimes my father would do the shopping and buy the el cheapo Allen’s Van Camp horror: pale white beans floating in a thin red tomato sauce. Blech!! I’m diabetic so when I make them I cut down on the molasses and add a bit of stevia or other sweetener to fool myself.

  41. tom September 7th, 2013

    Have been making beans in the crockpot for many a year now & eat them daily. Enjoyed reading all the commentary and also the great recipes. I haven’t purchased a can of beans in years.
    When I was a kid, I also liked the Libby’s ‘Bien Mijotées’…once in a while our Dad would do the shopping and
    come home with another brand…what a disappointment!
    PS: Sometimes to darken my beans, I will add a dash or two of soya sauce…plus, I always use brown sugar, rather than molasses…and I never add meat, using Becel margarine instead.

  42. Emily-Pemily December 7th, 2013

    BEST CROCKPOT BEANS EVER!!!

    Tried the veggie version a couple of weeks ago – awesome! Those of us on fat restricted diets thank you very much. Used fancy molasses and no brown sugar. The dried mustard was cut back a bit so my hubby wouldn’t know it was in there. Sneaking more in today…

    Dunno why the first batch of beans did not puff up in the overnight soak; the white beans soaked last night almost escaped from my big measuring cup. They freeze well? Great! Perfect portable frugal lunches.

  43. Edward January 19th, 2014

    Beans when consumed raw, particularly Kidney beans are very high in a protein, which can be toxic to humans, but are perfectly fine when cooked.

  44. Mark April 9th, 2014

    I grew up in Massachusetts, my family goes all the way back to the early 1600′s back there. I have never heard of using bacon, a slab of salted pork yes & there is a difference in flavor. Nor have I ever seen or heard of putting tomato paste in Boston baked bean either.

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